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Gary Stevens, a consulting IT Project Manager in Tampa Florida who's most recent 10 years were spent with Tropicana (QTG) was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in early 2015. He spent 2015 dealing with traditional chemo treatments, followed by radiation. These did not result in a favorable decision to resect the tumor, located in a very difficult position. Late 2015 Gary was a participant in the Renovo Rx program, a new catheter designed for the specific use of pancreatic cancer, allowing targeted treatment to the specific areas. This also did not result in any favorable condition or situation to allow removal of the tumor.
Earlier this year (2017), Gary's condition began to progress, impacting short-term memory, overall body strength, and mobility. Fluid retention became a progressive issue and was being managed. Eating and drinking fluids became more difficult and intake slowly reduced. The last week of May, it was decided that Gary should be moved to Continuous Care with Hospice at home.
The first few days he was still alert, not eating, sipping water and ice cubes - then Thursday was asking for Cereal, Fruit, etc. That subsided and were his last food requests. Sister Linda and her husband spent the day with him.
Friday was his last real interactive day, even though he had visitors. Saturday was relatively quiet as he was non responsive, but also exhibiting no pain or discomfort.
Sunday daytime, there was no shift to cover for Hospice - which was a bit of a blessing, Coryell and I were in the room with him most of the day just talking to him and being with him. He had several visitors, and during that day I had calls start from his Tropicana family. A quick reach out and there were several that were able to talk to Gary - he couldn't respond. Along with some family members remote that also called, on site visitors dropped by to visit as well.
Monday morning somewhere about 2:30 I awoke thinking I had left a light on which I wanted to turn off. I first went to his room, kissed him and told him I loved him, and would always love him. It is OK to go, we are all fine - I love you. Kissed him again, went to turn off the light, came back in, gave him a kiss, said I love you and went back to my room.
Two minutes later the nurse knocked on my door - he had just died (2:40)
As the nurse began arrangements, I turned the lights outside off, and Coryell and I lay on the bed next to him.
Once the transportation had him on the gurney, I had them lower it to the lowest level. Coryell sniffed and kissed him, then lay his head in his lap. I said my final goodbyes.
For any tributes or in memory of gestures, I’m requesting that donations be made to the Dobermann Rescue of Lake Placid (information below). Gary and I have had the honor of being the parents of 7 wonderful Dobe’s over our almost 38 years together; all brought immense joy to both of us.
The Lake Placid organization is where we obtained the last rescue (Coryell) of 3 rescues that we’ve had, and is need of any and all assistance. What better way to honor Gary than to help provide for what brought him so much love and joy.
You may mail them a check (indicate In Memory of Gary James Stevens, Tampa) to Dobermann Rescue of Lake Placid, 171 Hillside Drive, Lake Placid, FL 33852
You may also donate via credit card or paypal from their website (please note there are 2 n’s in Dobermann for their web URL). They are a 501c3, so your donations are tax deductible. http://www.DobermannRescue.org
If you choose the link, on any page at the bottom is a donate button.
On the credit card information page there is “instructions to the seller”. Please state In memory of Gary James Stevens, Tampa, FL., any sentiments or comments you would like AND your Name(s) and address. They have asked that you include your address also so that they (and I) can respond with Thank You notes. The rest is typical cc information to process the donation.
Thank you to everyone who have been so supportive during these years that Gary has gone through this ordeal.
As to events, at this time we have the Witnessed Cremation which our families and Coryell will attend next Tuesday June 13th about 6:30 PM.
Following this I will determine two dates, one for Gary's Tropicana and work family and friends, and another for our family and friends, hopefully to be held here at the house. More to come on those. Again - THANK YOU to everyone who have been SO supportive to Gary, Coryell and myself during this time. Love, Chip